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The final scene, in which the girl discovers the true identity of her benefactor, is a poignant encounter that has been lauded as one of the most memorable and moving moments in film comedy.
Chaplin fell out of fashion towards the end of the 20th century as a new wave of comedians (Rowan Atkinson for one) castigated him for what they saw as his excessive, maudlin sentimentality. Certainly, City Lights--which sees Chaplin's Tramp befriended by a blind flower girl who mistakes him for a rich benefactor--is hokum indeed. Accepting this, however, what makes the film so marvellous is the deceptive skill and artistry of Chaplin the filmmaker, the immaculate timing and acrobatic grace of his seemingly slapstick comedy, in particular a justly famous boxing sequence. Chaplin's sparing use of sound is inventive also: the wordless waffle of public speakers in the opening scene and another in which the tramp swallows a whistle. Moreover, the conclusion, in which the dishevelled Tramp encounters again the flower girl, her eyesight restored is--sentimentality notwithstanding--one of the most moving and superbly executed scenes in cinema history, not least for its economy and restraint.
On the DVD: City Lights contains a generous package of extras on this two-disc set, including an introduction by David Robinson, in which he relates how poorly Chaplin and his leading lady Virginia Cherrill got on, an extended documentary/interview with Peter Lord (partner in animation to Nick Parks), who sings the praises of Chaplin's screen art, and a deleted scene, an immaculate piece of business involving a grate and a stick. There's a bonus in the form of an excerpt from 1915's The Champion, in which Chaplin prefigures the boxing scene from City Lights. Meanwhile, the "documents" section includes a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage, including a test screening for alternative actress Georgia Hale, rehearsal shots, chaotic scenes of Chaplin being mobbed in Vienna, a meeting with Winston Churchill and 1918 footage of Chaplin horsing around with famous boxers of the day including Benny Leonard. It also contains trailers, photo gallery and subtitles. On the first disc, the film's transfer to DVD is splendid. --David Stubbs
Right before the ‘talkies’ era took its cause; Charlie Chaplin came out with this magnificent comedy portrayed by his famous ‘tramp’ character. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Review100er
Not only is it really funny, but it also has a lot of heart to it! In my opinion, this is the greatest rom com ever made and the only one that deserves to be called the best! Read morePublished 10 months ago by Joshua
Lovely movie. Great packaging and quick sending.
Don't lose this movie if you love Charlie Chaplin cinema. Must be in your collection
enjoyed the film, some classic moments in it. the DVD itself was in good condition. I bought this as I have just read the biography of Virginia Cherrill.Published 13 months ago by J. Jewels
A genuine top 10 of all time film - so many brilliant moments - the last scene will make you cry - guaranteedPublished 13 months ago by Ed
Very nice story and great acting but for some reasons though it's a gem as a film I rate it a little below The Kid, The Gold Rush and Modern Time that for me are Chaplin's... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Tranquillity
This is a gem Chalpin at his best such attention to detail worth every penny it might be a bit sentimental for todays audience but it leaves a good feelingPublished 16 months ago by toby
I found this film very enjoyable at many levels, I also have learnt to play the violin score which is varied and interesting and fits well with the film. Read morePublished on 9 Jan 2012 by grahame2012